Whether you’re a seasoned skier or snowboarder or a senior about to embark on your first alpine adventure, the secret to an enjoyable ski holiday in your later years is good planning. Here are some tips to help you plan a memorable ski trip.
Tip #1: Pre-conditioning will minimise your risk of injury on your ski holiday
Even for supple young skiers and snowboarders, snow sports can be merciless on hips, back and knees if you plan to put in at least a good few hours skiing each day. Plan to enjoy an injury free ski holiday. Prepare your body well in advance.
Book in a visit to your local sports physiotherapist or gym and find out what exercises you can do to condition the right muscles groups ready for your alpine adventure. Lunges and squats will get those larger muscle groups that support your hips and knees working the way they need to. Expert advice on moving the right way is highly recommended, at any age over 40.
TIP #2: It’s never too late to take ski lessons
If you’ve never skied or snowboarded before, invest in some ski lessons before you hit the slopes. Knowing how to slow down, stop or avoid accidents will go a long way in helping you find your way (and avoid ski rage incidents!) on beginner ski runs. As you exit a ski lift for the very first time, you’ll be glad you took that beginners class!
Ski lessons are also a fantastic way to get social and meet other beginners.
Even experienced skiers and snowboarders can benefit from lessons particularly if it has been a while between hitting the slopes.
Tip #3: Find a senior’s friendly ski resort
Invest in some research online or consult a trusted travel agent to find out which ski resorts might be most likely to put you among peers. Many ski resorts offer seniors discounts for lift passes. As an example, at Mount Hotham in Victoria if you’re over 70 you can ski for free! If you’re a younger alpine adventurer between 65 and 69, you’re ski lift passes are heavily discounted.
Source: mthotham.com.au > lift passes > lift pass deals > seniors
Tip #4: Consider a ski clothing and ski gear overhaul
If it’s been a while since you’ve upgraded your boots, skis or snowboard and gear, head to a specialty ski retailer to have your gear checked and give your skis a tune.
While you’re there, ask an expert about the latest ski gear and the advantages over your existing gear. If you invest in just one upgrade – start with your boots. Boot comfort will make a substantial difference to the hours you can put in each day throughout your ski holiday.
While you might feel great that you can squeeze into that 1970’s all in one puffy jumpsuit it may not keep you as dry and toasty as contemporary gear will. Clothing technology has come a long way since ABBA! From moisture-management technology like anti-wicking to body armour that works like an airbag, the options are extensive.
If the choices in gear and clothing are all too overwhelming, at the very least consider investing in anti-fog ski goggles. Good goggles can make a big difference to your comfort on-piste, particularly when the snow cover is thick and the sun is shining!
Tip #5: Stay toasty but don’t overcook
The first time I hit the slopes was on the majestic, wide ski runs of New Zealand’s South Island. I had never snow boarded before but I was keen to have a go. I was dressed to stay toasty warm and dry. My goggles were bought ‘at a bargain price’. It was going to be a great day with the snow glittering under the rays of a perfect winter sun.
I accidentally jumped on a ski lift that took me up, up and up to the top of the longest run at Treble Cone. I had no idea how to snow board. I found myself on a warm winter’s day stuck at the beginning of an intermediate run, infamous for its length and with many patches of well packed ice – that dropped off steeply at the sides. As the sun’s heat was absorbed by my dark coloured, well insulated clothing my ski goggles were giving my eyes a steamy sauna. The blinding snow was too glary to take them off. I couldn’t see, I was cooking in my ski jacket and thermal top and after a number of failed snow-boarding attempts, decided I had a very long, very warm walk down to the bottom of the run.
Layer, people, layer! Check the weather report before you head out. If the day is fine and the sun is glowing, you won’t need to feel toasty. And did I mention the benefit of anti-fog ski goggles?!
Tip #6: Stay up to date with ski conditions
Plan your days based on morning ski condition reports. If conditions aren’t favourable for a comfortable day on the slopes, change your itinerary. You don’t want to start your ski trip on a windy, blizzard day and find you’re so exhausted and sore from the physical exertion that you can’t ski for the rest of your trip. Pace yourself.
And at the end of a day on the slopes, the ambiance of a sitting around an open fire with a hearty glass of Shiraz and swapping tales of on-piste mischief is a great reward for your efforts!
Helpful online browsing to inspire your next ski holiday adventure
For viewing current conditions on Australian ski fields:
Ski.com.au > snowcams
What to do in Thredbo rather than ski:
Vogue.com.au > Vogue Living > Travel
Exercises to get your body ready for skiing:
Verywell.com > Exercise